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LONDON – The U.K. government renewed the country’s commitment to its film tax credit system to the end of 2015 paving the way to continue to attract studio backed projects such as Skyfall, the latest James Bond adventure being directed by Sam Mendes and Universal Pictures’ Snow White and The Huntsman, starring Kristen Stewart and Charlize Theron, to shoot here.
The government hopes the system will enable the studio facilities and movie industry to remain competitive in attracting overseas productions to British shores.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said: “The film tax relief will be extended to the end of 2015 guaranteeing hundreds of millions of pounds of support for the British film industry.”
Cameron’s commitment to the movie tax support came during a speech on export and growth delivered at the BFI Imax theater in central London.
Industry analysts and producers are united in the opinion that the tax credit system, which allows productions to enjoy tax breaks on U.K. production spend is “vital” in keeping Britain competitive.
In 2010, according to figures originally compiled by the now defunct U.K. Film Council, the tax system helped corral more than £330 million ($460 million) in overseas investment into the economy.
Inward investment levels – largely monies being spent by U.S. studio backed projects – hit a record breaking $1.48 billion by the end of 2010, up 15 percent over 2009.
Movies included Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two, Captain America: The First Avenger, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Hugo Cabret.
Tax and accountancy giant RSM Tenon, a leading practitioner in advising U.S. studios and indie producers alike, thinks the government move to extend to 2015 will provide a fillip to the movie sector.
RSM Tenon’s John Graydon described Cameron’s declaration as “great news” for the industry.
“It demonstrates the government’s commitment to encouraging film production in the UK and provides filmmakers with certainty going forward,” Graydon said.
Cameron also noted the British Film Institute’s move to launch a £200,000 cashpool to help U.K. films maximize their commercial potential in the international marketplace.
The Film Export Fund aims to enhance export opportunities for British films selected to appear at key international film festivals, helping to ensure home grown talent remains firmly in the spotlight on the world stage.
Cameron said: “I’m delighted to learn that the BFI has this week set up a £200,000 export fund to help British film companies to sell their films abroad.”
British Film Commission chair Iain Smith described the government’s move as “fantastic news” for movie-makers.
“Not only does it demonstrate the Government understands the vital role thatthe art and business of film-making plays in our economic and cultural landscape, but it also ensures the U.K. can maintain its global competitiveness,” Smith said. “It puts a level of stability in place which allows us as the BFC, with our international partners, to continue to drive the industry forward and grow and develop the film industry in this country.”
Film London and BFC chief executive Adrian Wootton noted how crucial the tax credit system is.
Wootton said: “This support from the government gives us continuity and a fantastic foundation, which in turn allows us to aggressively market our world-class talent, facilities and locations across the globe.”
Josh Berger, president and managing director, Warner Bros. U.K. said: “For almost 90 years, Warner Bros. has been investing in U.K. film production and the U.K. film industry’s outstanding creative talent. In the last year alone, we’ve produced six major feature films here, released the final film in the U.K.-produced Harry Potter movie series and committed £100 million to create our permanent production home, Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden, which will open in summer 2012. We welcome the Government’s expression of support for the U.K. film industry through its renewal of the film tax credit.”
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